Whether your body is “swimsuit” ready or not, it’s time to hit the water. Michiana is absolutely overflowing with lakes, rivers and other waterways that make fun in the sun obtainable for landlocked Michiana. June is normally the month where waterways are open for things like kayaking and rafting, so now’s a good time to make sure those swim trunks still fit. Here’s a list of places to check out if you’re looking to get a little wet this June.
Downtown South Bend’s East Race
The East Race is a manmade waterway that runs through the downtown South Bend area. The waterway is only open on the weekends, but the reasonable fees make up for the limited availability. The rafting fee is just $5 per person, and you can rent a kayak for $15 a day. You don’t need to register to ride, just bring some cash and rubber-soled shoes (no sandals).
St. Patrick’s County Park
St. Pat’s canoe rental allows paddlers to travel down the St. Joseph River. There are a few different trips available, ranging from anywhere between 4 and 9 miles—that can mean a 2-hour trip or a 5-hour trip. Prices for canoe and kayak rentals depend on which trip and route is chosen, but the price always includes a water vessel, paddles, life jackets and shuttle service back to St. Patrick’s after the ride ends. Canoeing and kayaking has already begun for St. Pat’s, so check it out for some waterway adventures.
Galien River in New Buffalo
For something a little different, try a kayak ride or some stand-up paddleboarding down the Galien River in southwest Michigan. These jaunts down the river are unguided, but the nature is truly untouched and breathtaking to witness. It’s also worth mentioning that the Galien River is slow-moving and pretty mellow, so it’s ideal for those who want a relaxing trip or beginners. Water travelers may use their own canoes and kayaks, but those who don’t have their own can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Third Coast Surf Shop. To explore the big wonder that is Lake Michigan, the surf shop has another location on New Buffalo beach with the same rental capabilities.
Spicer Lake Nature Preserve
So maybe you don’t want to get wet, but still want to enjoy the water? Spicer Lake, a state-dedicated nature preserve in New Carlisle, might be right for you. It offers a stroll through wetlands and a view at two lakes—Spicer lake and Lancaster lake. The preserve is primarily filled with swamps and marshes, but allows one to enjoy the water without actually getting in it.
When water is a factor in outdoor recreational activities, always remember the essentials of protection: a life jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and bottled water. Water travel can sometimes go awry, and it’s always good to be prepared with essential items. Many canoeing and kayaking services will provide life jackets, but bringing a backup isn’t a bad idea.
Enjoy one of Michiana’s many waterways this summer for views of nature, fresh air and a whole lot of exercise.